Students are inspired to help others

Jenna Nguyen, Melina Dimitropoulou, and Arathi Nair conduct drives to help less-fortunate students. (photo courtesy of Melina Dimitropoulou). 

Students are inspired to help others

By Ashley Shah

Rising Scripps Ranch High School (SRHS) seniors Melina Dimitropoulou, Jenna Nguyen and Arathi Nair have called for a change.

What started as a project for their junior year English class has turned into a movement to help those who are less fortunate. 

“For the assignment, it was a year-long project in which we had to find a topic we were passionate about and research the issues and organizations already working to solve it and look for something to improve on,” Dimitropoulou said. “We had to plan out a timeline and which organizations we wanted to contact near the beginning of the school year and propose our plan to our teachers. And then we just had to execute the plan and document as we went along.” 

The topic that the team decided to tackle was the inequality in access to education. 

“We recognized our own privilege of having education in the center of our lives and realized that everyone should have that education as a main part of their lives as well,” Nair said. 

Through their research, the team found its goal. 

“We found that although there are a lot of charities and non-profits which get educational materials to children in need, there isn’t really a connection between better off communities like Scripps Ranch and these organizations. Our project’s goal was to be the link between these organizations and Scripps,” Dimitropoulou said. 

On May 23, the team held its first drive. The team members collected around 290 books, two large boxes of school supplies and 22 masks. 

“To maintain social distance, we had people who wanted to donate sign up on a spreadsheet and then we drove by their houses and picked up the supplies,” Dimitropoulou said. 

The masks were donated to the Young Women’s Christian Association,
the school supplies were donated to the Kids in Need Foundation and the books were donated to Father Joe’s Villages.

“We picked these three organizations because they have local and global impacts, and these organizations help those in different countries who don’t have the same access to education as we do,” Nair said. 

The team promoted its drive through social media and by sending out the Google sign-up form to their school and friends. The team was planning to have new drives on Aug. 22 and Sept. 12. 

“We are going to see how it goes with our two drives in the fall and then we hope to continue doing these drives throughout the year,” Nguyen said. 

For the three seniors, this organization is even more urgent through this tough time. 

“At a time like this when schools are closed, it is especially important because students need access to books so they can learn and keep continuing with their education. The masks are really important as well because we want to help in any way we can to flatten the (coronavirus) curve,” Dimitropoulou said.

At SRHS, Nguyen is a member of the Color Guard and Winter Guard team as well as a peer tutor. She also volunteers at St. Gregory the Great.

“For me, this project became something really meaningful because, as a kid, my parents would always read to me and I want every kid to have that opportunity,” Nguyen said. 

Dimitropoulou was the publicity chairperson for peer tutors at SRHS. She ice skates and volunteers at an ice rink as well. 

“I recognize the value of having good education materials in order to succeed and I want all students to get the education they deserve,” Dimitropoulou said.

At SRHS, Nair is the co-president of Science Olympiad. She volunteers for the organization Parents United and is part of the choir group for the organization Chamber Bravura. 

“Personally, I’ve loved school all my life and I know it’s because I’ve had certain privileges and I want everyone else to love school like I do and have the same access I’ve had,” Nair said. 

Sign up for the next drive at bit.ly/donation-drive.

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